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Chicago to sue Jussie Smollett over investigation costs

Chicago to sue Jussie Smollett over investigation costs

Jussie Smollett

The city of Chicago has announced it will sue Jussie Smollett for the cost of an investigation for an allegedly staged racist assault.

Smollett missed the deadline to reimburse the costs of the investigation of a hate crime which prosecutors say the actor had orchestrated.

Smollett, who is black and openly gay, had initially said he was the victim of a racist attack in Chicago.

However, after several weeks of investigation, police claimed that the actor had paid for the incident to be carried out.

Police later charged him with 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct.

In a surprise move, prosecutors announced they would be dropping the charges against Smollett.

However, they have said they believe he is guilty. As such, prosecutors ruled that Smollett should cover the cost of the police investigation.

The actor continues to protest his innocence and has made no attempts to reimburse the costs.

Smollett’s case has garnered great amounts of media attention. Numerous people across the political divide have expressed their anger and disappointment in the case.

Media firestorm

The case first made headlines in late-January when Smollett reported he had been the victim of a hate crime.

The Empire star claimed he had been attacked by two men on a Chicago street in the early hours of the morning. He says the men shouted racial epithets, hung a noose around his neck, and poured bleach on him.

Smollett, 36, was initially met with an outpouring of support from public figures and LGBTI rights advocates. He later doubled-down on his claims in an impassioned television interview.

However, police began to cast doubt on his claims after arresting two brothers with connections to Smollett.

The brothers claimed that Smollett had paid them to help make him appear to be the victim of a hate crime.

Evidence began mounting up against the Empire star, and police soon charged him with 16 felony counts.

In a surprise move on 26 March, Cook County State Attorney Kim Foxx announced all criminal charges against Smollett would be dropped.  Prosecutors justified the move on account of Smollett’s alleged crime being non-violent.

Controversial move 

While the prosecution stands by their decision to drop the charges against Smollett, they have said that they believe Smollett is guilty.

Prosecutors ordered Smollett to cover the $130,106.15 costs of the police investigation into the alleged attack within seven days of March 28.

After Smollett missed the deadline, the city announced it would be pursuing legal action, CNN reports. TMZ says that the costs of the lawsuit could amount to $390,000.

Smollett continues to maintain his innocence, with his lawyer saying the actor would ‘not be intimidated’ into paying back the legal costs.

He later described his experience as an ‘incredibly difficult time’.

The decision to drop the 16 charges facing Smollett was an unexpected and highly controversial move.

The move enraged both Chicago mayor, Rahm Emmanuel, and police chief, Eddie Johnstone.

US President Donald Trump also expressed anger at the decision, calling it an ’embarrassment’.